A vial of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine
A vial of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine. Credit: Darrow Montgomery

We know D.C. Get our free newsletter to stay in the know.

The weekend started with a “March for Life” protest on Friday and ended with a “Defeat the Mandates” rally that brought thousands more protesters to the District on Sunday. Separately, a D.C. police officer was shot Sunday night in Petworth.

“March for Life” Amid Challenges to Roe v. Wade

The annual March for Life, which happens around the anniversary of the Supreme Court’s landmark 1973 decision Roe v. Wade, carried a new energy this year. Some protesters had high hopes that the court would overturn Roe before the next anniversary.

“I did [the march] in the past just because I wanted [to say] ‘We’re here, we’re here. We still believe abortion is wrong.’ But now I’m like, wow, maybe something will change for the better,” Macy Butler, a retired teacher from Silver Spring, told NPR, echoing other attendees’ remarks.

On Thursday, the court denied abortion providers’ most recent request to step in against a highly restrictive abortion law in Texas, making victory for reproductive rights advocates all the more unlikely. The law, which has been in effect since September, allows private citizens to bring lawsuits against anyone who “aids and abets” in an abortion after six weeks of pregnancy. It has inspired copycat laws across the U.S. Since the law involves enforcement by private citizens instead of state officials, it’s been tough for reproductive rights advocates to legally challenge.

The court is set to review another law that bans abortion in Mississippi after 15 weeks of pregnancy and could make a decision by June. This law, unlike the one in Texas, would overturn Roe if upheld by the conservative-majority court. The question facing the court in this case is whether the Constitution protects the right to seek an abortion.

“Defeat the Mandates” March 

Drums, music, and chants of “No more mandate!” resounded during the “Defeat the Mandates” rally on Sunday. Protesters marched from the Washington Monument to the Lincoln Memorial, sites the event website promoted as reminders of the sacrifice for a “free” America, to rally against COVID vaccine mandates.   

“If we follow the lines that we’re following today, we’re going back to a feudal two-class system,” a protester from Pennsylvania told WTOP. “We have to break the line somewhere and America is the country where it can happen.” 

While event organizers predicted about 20,000 attendees when requesting a permit, the reality was a much lower number. Robert Kennedy, Jr., whose anti-vax organization hosted the event, several doctors, and entertainers told the crowd unsubstantiated warnings and gave false statements about alleged issues around the COVID vaccine. Kennedy and company compared vaccine passports to slavery and drew parallels with Nazi Germany. 

Other attendees were more moderate in their statements, speaking out against the mandate in places like D.C. and New York where proof of vaccination is required for entry to many indoor businesses. 

“I respect people who want to give themselves the shot, I do,” protester Elena Mujica told Univision in Spanish. “But I also ask for respect for those of us who don’t wish to do so.”

In Other News …

A D.C. police officer was shot Sunday night on the 1300 block of Spring Road NW in Petworth. The officer was released from the hospital after receiving treatment for non-life-threatening injuries. 

Before the shooting, MPD officers tried to contact a man who MPD Chief Robert Contee said “appeared to be very suspicious in terms of his behavior.” Contee said the man began firing at officers before they could contact him. Officers chased the man to the 1400 block of Quincy Street NW, but the suspect remains at large.

Ambar Castillo (tips? acastillo@washingtoncitypaper.com)

  • To see today’s COVID-19 data, visit our coronavirus tracker.
  • Anacostia High School teachers and staff held an impromptu work stoppage Friday after a shooting Wednesday in which bullets pierced the school entrance. Assistant Superintendent JuDonn DeShields and Ward 8 Councilmember Trayon White visited the school to listen to employees’ safety concerns. [Post]
  • The National Zoo’s newest baby is a prehensile-tailed porcupette. [Washingtonian]
  • D.C. police arrested four teens in connection with recent carjacking incidents, as car thefts in the region have increased. [NBC4, Axios]

By Ambar Castillo (tips? acastillo@washingtoncitypaper.com)

  • There’s a new Loose Lips in town! Welcome, Alex Koma! [Twitter]
  • Feds have been investigating D.C.’s pension board that oversees a $10 billion retirement fund. [Post]
  • What we’re looking for in the next Metro GM. [DCist]
  • Mayor Muriel Bowser taps Mike Carter as interim director of DPW after her first pick, Christine Davis, couldn’t pass Council approval. [Twitter]

By Mitch Ryals (tips? mryals@washingtoncitypaper.com)

Credit: Darrow Montgomery

The Henri, a Bistro and Bar From Chef Frederik De Pue, Opens Feb. 15

A bistro that relies on rotisserie cooking is opening downtown next month. At first Frederik […]

  • Lawyers opine on what could happen to a bar defying D.C.’s vaccine mandate. [Washingtonian]
  • Inside Solace Brewing’s new Navy Yard location. [Eater DC]
  • Where to find heated outdoor dining in D.C. [Thrillist]

By Laura Hayes (tips? lhayes@washingtoncitypaper.com)

City Lights: Hamiltonian Artists Celebrates Next Generation of Creatives

Hamiltonian Artists’ annual new.now. exhibition, showcasing the articulation of artists’ vision, returns with work from […]

  • Please welcome City Paper’s newest City Lights editor to the team! Ella Feldman starts today! [Twitter]
  • Prepare your ‘gram: The Hishhorn to exhibit a second, iconic Yayoi Kusama Infinity Room this spring—Infinity Mirrored Room–My Heart Is Dancing into the Universe. [Washingtonian]
  • Omicron prompts yet another delay in local theater. Shakespeare Theatre Company has pushed the all-local production of Our Town until May; Much Ado About Nothing will now run next season. [DC Metro Theater Arts]

By Sarah Marloff (tips? smarloff@washingtoncitypaper.com)

  • The NWSL Board of Governors has approved changes to the Washington Spirit ownership structure, clearing the way for Y. Michele Kang to gain controlling interest, which has not yet been finalized. [Black & Red United]
  • The No. 1 ranked Sidwell Friends girls’ basketball team won the two-day Girls Basketball Invitational tournament against some of the best teams in the country. [WTOP]
  • In Wes Unseld Jr.’s first game since returning to Wizards’ bench after missing four games due to health and safety protocols, the Wizards gave up 51 points to Jayson Tatum in their 116-87 loss to the Boston Celtics. [NBC Sports Washington]
  • Nyckoles Harbor, a five-star defensive end recruit from Archbishop Carroll High School, recently ran the fourth fastest high school time in the indoor 200 meters. [FloTrack]

By Kelyn Soong (tips? ksoong@washingtoncitypaper.com)

Sign up: To get District Line Daily—or any of our other email newsletters—sent straight to your mailbox, click here. Send tips, ideas, and comments to newsletter@washingtoncitypaper.com.